Before I had kids, I never used to understand why parents got so frustrated by kids asking so many questions.
Curiosity is good, right? You should be encouraging it and you don’t know the answer yourself, then what a great opportunity to introduce dictionaries or Google!
Because everything about raising kids seems so obvious until you find yourself doing it. Now, I understand that:
- Kids often ask you impossible-to-answer questions, and
- Kids sometimes don’t know enough about the world to grasp standard explanations, so you find yourself trying to get across extremely abstract concepts using only language and references a young child could understand.
Both of which came into play earlier this evening as I was struggling not to shut down my 4-year-old daughter Brontë’s insatiable curiosity while she threw out a truly epic barrage of head-scratchers… she was watching Dinosaur Train at the time:
Brontë: Mom, did you know there are ocean dinosaurs?
Me: Yeah, well.. there were. There aren’t any dinosaurs around anymore.
Brontë: Where are all the dinosaurs?
Me: There used to be dinosaurs everywhere, a long time ago. Before there were people. But they’re gone now and we aren’t sure why… they think maybe a meteor hit the Earth. (I don’t think she knows what a ‘meteor’ is, let alone climate change. Do I mention dinosaurs evolving into birds, or is that just waaaay too much information to process right now?)
Brontë: How do we know there were dinosaurs?
Me (relieved): Because we found their skeletons in the ground.
Brontë (super excited): WOW! Skeletons in their BODIES???
Me: Yep. Big, giant skeletons. From a long, long time ago… we could go see one if you want.
Brontë: I have a skeleton in my body and brains inside my head. Did we find mermaid skeletons too?
Me (wondering whether to break it to her): Umm…
Brontë: What do lizards eat?
Brontë: What are lizards favorite bugs to eat?
Me: Depends on the lizard. You should ask them.
Brontë (irritated): I DON’T speak lizard.
Me: What would be your favorite bug to eat if you were a lizard?
Brontë: GROSS. I don’t want to be a lizard. I want to be a bee who eats honey.
Me: Would you want to be a queen bee or a worker bee that gets to fly around looking for flowers?
Brontë (thinking carefully): A princess bee, because they have more fun. Not a dinosaur, though…
Me: Why not?
Brontë (rolling her eyes): Psh, because they all DIED, mom. You JUST TOLD ME THAT.